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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  March 9, 2013 9:00am-11:00am PST

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winter. denver getting slammed with blizzard conditions over the weekend. here you're looking at a picture. the worst of it just beginning there. at least a foot of snow could fall on parts in and around the mile-high city. and this comes on the heels of another destructive storm that swept through the northeast. here are some pictures of high tide on the coast off massachusetts late yesterday. and today, that storm blew offshore. look what it left behind. some pretty clear reminders it was there. these are pictures from plum island where about a dozen homes have been damaged and some are left precariously hanging over the ocean. the intense storm knocked at least one house off the foundation. the weather channel's eric fisher is going to join me now with more. eric, hello to you, what does it look like to you there? >> reporter: well, hello, alex, and we can show you one site. it'll tell you everything about how the coast has changed throughout this winter. look at the steps on plum island, you see how far down that water is.
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well, just a year ago, the sand, the top of the dunes, that's where those steps were going, to the top of a 20-foot dune and then you walked down the dune over to the beach. all of that is gone. the big chunk of that came away with this winter storm. if you look down the coast, we have lost a couple of houses here on plum island. both of them are going to be demolished through the course of the day. and there you see it around the corner. and all of these sandbags across the beach, all of the homeowners have paid for those and they have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to protect these houses, trying to put barriers in the way from the ocean. they have not been able to stop the force. ever since we had sandy, we had several winter storms, now we have our latest over the weekend. some folks lost more than 40 foot of beach between this and the blizzard just a month ago. so more homes being lost with this and now all of these natural defenses are gone. so this may be a story that's not just ending today but may pick right back up again when the next storm moves into town. i'm meteorologist eric fisher,
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alex, back to you. >> all right. what a mess there. let's go to nbc meteorologist dylan drier. did you see that? a 20-foot sand berm gone. >> these are people's homes, sometimes summer homes thchl is where they've set up shop. and these storms have been battering the coastline. they're not just coming with 2 feet of snow, coming with all that wind and the battering waves. so with each storm as eric mentioned, it is going to be an issue. look at what's going on back through denver, we are getting into mid-march, turning the clocks ahead to this weekend, tonight, actually. and we are looking at several inches of snow back through the rockies and this is going to extend up into western nebraska and also through south carolina and into minnesota, as well. we have blizzard warnings in effect. you could see through northeastern colorado, western nebraska, northwestern kansas, as well, and it's not just the heavy snow, but we could see wind gusts up to 50 miles per
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hour on top of perhaps up to more than a foot of snow, especially in the denver area. we could even see 6 to 12 inches of snow through central wisconsin. so this storm is going to stick around through the day today and into early tomorrow. it pushes east as more of a rainstorm and you can see chicago will see perhaps up to 2 inches of rainfall. heavy thunderstorms could extend down into central texas. and we could see some severe weather into this afternoon. temperatures down in texas will be in the 70s. but in the northeast, you know, they do need some help melting the snow. it's a lot easier to melt it away than shovel it all up. and we will see temperatures in the 40s today and tomorrow in the boston area. it should still be up around 40. in the northeast, the rest of the northeast, mid to upper 50s. d.c. will be inching closer to 60 degrees by the time we get into monday. talking about all these winter storms, but this time of year, you also get those really nice warm-ups too. we'll see how this week plays out. >> and don't forget about setting your clock ahead one hour. can't be late for work.
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overseas now where a defiant north korea is saying no to u.n. security council resolution demanding an end to the nuclear arms program. this comes a day after the u.n. security council unanimously voted to impose sanctions on north korea for the nuclear tests. on thursday, north korea threatened to attack the united states with a preemptive nuclear strike. it conducted its third nuclear test on february 12th in defiance of previous resolutions. i'll be speaking with william cohen about north korea's latest threat and whether they could actually make good on it. that is coming up in our next hour. but right now, u.s. defense secretary chuck hagel is on his way back to the u.s. this is video just in showing hagel as he is boarding his plane as it is leaving kabul afghanistan. he was there for a surprise visit to thank u.s. troops from the 101st airborne division and meet with military officials. one of the highlights, awarding two soldiers with purple hearts. when he arrived late last night,
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suicide bombers set off two explosions. the taliban claimed responsibility saying they were intended to send a message to the defense secretary. hagel was not in harm's way during those attacks. let's go to washington. and new today, president obama's using his weekly address to highlight meetings with republicans this week. republicans, meanwhile, are insisting lawmakers balance the federal budget. >> as democrats and republicans, we may disagree on the best way to achieve our goals, but i'm confident we can agree on what those goals should be. a strong and vibrant middle class, an economy that allows businesses to grow and thrive, an education system that gives more americans the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future. >> we have a moral duty to balance the federal budget and bring the deficit down to zero. this is the great challenge of our time. and you may be surprised to learn that we can achieve this
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goal if we simply hold the annual growth of spending to 3.4% each year. >> the president says he wants the senate to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in the next three months. he made those comments during a meeting with faith leaders on friday. kristin welker at the white house for us with another hello to you on this saturday, kristin. i know the president also says he plans to hold some more meetings on the sequester next week. what are you hearing about that? >> well, that's right, alex. president obama's actually going to have several meetings next week on the hill. he'll be meeting with democrats and republicans in both chambers. and, of course, this week in which he has reached out to rank and file members of congress, he had a lunch this past week with representative paul ryan. his former rival on the campaign trail. he also had a dinner with 12 republican senators here at the jefferson hotel in washington, d.c. really marks a shift in strategy for this president who has been
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criticized for not reaching out enough to members of congress. he is now reaching out to rank and file members of congress and also circumventing congressional leaders really in admission to some extent that dealing with congressional leaders hasn't been getting the job done. as you point out, alex, the president has been talking to these members of congress about deficit reduction and, of course, the sequester, ways in which they can cut off the sequester which took effect last week. we are seeing some of the results of the sequester actually take effect. today the the first day, for example, that tours at the white house have been canceled. a lot of visitors here on this spring-like day in washington, d.c. expressing deep disappointment that these tours have been canceled. take a listen to what some of them have had to say. >> i'm very sorry for the people that will not be able to see the inside of the gorgeous white house. >> a lot of people, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go in the white house. >> i understand budgets, but something needs to be done. they need to allow tours.
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that's part of what we have a right of as americans. >> so those visitors not very interested in the partisan wrangling that is going on here. just expressing their frustration that they can't actually tour. which, of course, they point out is also called the people's house. in terms of why the tours are actually canceled, secret service officials say they had to cut back on their hours, they gave the white house a number of options in terms of how to do that so cancelling tours was one of them. republicans have accused the white house of playing politics with this. saying they're trying to get a deal done on the sequester. at this point, it doesn't appear a deal is anywhere in sight. alex. >> right you are on that. kristin welker at the white house. thank you. >> thanks. also in washington, learning new and interesting details about that nearly 15-hour filibuster by rand paul earlier this week. in a new "washington post" op-ed, writes, quote, at about 6:30 p.m. something extraordinary happened, senator mark kirk who has been
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recovering from a stroke came to the floor to give me something. i was not allowed to drink anything but water or eat anything but the candy left in the senate desks but he brought me an apple and a thermos full of tea. that was a moment i'll never forget. in west coast headlines, scientists say the fountain of youth is within reach. and office politics with carl bernstein. he reveals what, quote, scared the hell out of him covering watergate. so i can't afford to have germy surfaces. but after one day's use, dishcloths can redeposit millions of germs. so ditch your dishcloth and switch to a fresh sheet of new bounty duratowel. look! a fresh sheet of bounty duratowel leaves this surface cleaner than a germy dishcloth, as this black light reveals. it's durable, cloth-like and it's 3 times cleaner. so ditch your dishcloth and switch to new bounty duratowel.
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some headlines making news out on the west coast like many papers across the country, the "oakland tribune" has a headline about the february jobs report. economists warn that the employment gains are being put at risk by sequestration.
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the "salt lake tribune" has a story on how it matches the m values of the mormon church. that would streamline the legal immigration system and create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. fountain of youth, a sip closer. researchers say they've solved one of the mysteries about how a chemical found in red wine works to combat the effects of obesity, some cancers, and other illnesses. president obama is highlighting the new jobs report in his weekly address today. the economy added 236,000 jobs in february bringing the unemployment rate down to a four-year low of 7.7%. >> our businesses have created jobs every month for three years straight. nearly 6.4 million new jobs in all. our manufacturers are bringing jobs back to america. our stock market has rebounded.
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new homes are being built and sold at a faster pace. and we need to do everything we can to keep that momentum going. >> joining me now political reporter for the "washington post" and msnbc contributor. hello to the two of you. glad to have you both here. >> good to be here. >> perry, do these numbers give the president any leverage with his economic plan? >> i think they do. if you remember back in january, president obama, you know, proposed to raise taxes on the wealthy and the republicans said no, we can't do that because it'll hurt economic growth. those taxes, of course, on the wealthy passed. and the stock market's went way up and unemployment has went down. at this point you have to say the president's argument has been right about the economy so far and that makes it easier for the case now that we need a few more tax increases and that won't hurt economic growth going forward. >> all right. jobs report comes out, 45 minutes later, you've got house speaker john boehner releasing
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this statement about it. the report reads, any job creation is positive news, but the fact is unemployment in america is still way above the levels the obama white house projected when the $1 trillion stimulus bill was enacted. and the ongoing spending binge resulted in a debt that exceeds the size of our entire economy. so at this stage, a week into the sequester, how concerned are democrats that any positive signs we are now seeing in the economy might be erased as the sequester continues? >> well, i think democrats and republicans are both concerned about the effects that the see questio sequestration is having on the economy. you see movement in the house and on the senate side to essentially freeze the sequester in place but also soften the blow that it would have to the economy. the house republicans passed a bill that would do some fixes around defense spending, give the pentagon more flexibility, and essentially replace the sequestration cuts at the
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pentagon and you'll see movement out of the senate around spending in discretionary domestic spending. so i think there is widespread concern, economists predicted a year ago that we'd see 12 million jobs created over the next four years. this last jobs report is essentially on pace with that. but, again, with the sequestration, you had predictions that anywhere from 700,000 to 800,000 jobs would be lost and there'd be cuts to people's pay. and of course, we know this is an economy that is pushed along by people spending. so when you have cuts with that, there's concern that you'll see a slowdown with these fragile gains as the economy has made so far. >> i want to go here with what senator rand paul wrote. this was an op-ed in the "washington post" about his filibuster. during that filibuster, paul focused on the president's policy on drones and here's what he said in the op-ed that reads, quote, no american should be
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killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime. as americans, we have fought long and hard for the bill of rights. the idea that no person should be held without due process and that no person should be held for a capital offense without being indicted is a principle and basic right. what did this filibuster accomplish? >> well, i think it very much pushed rand paul to the forefront of a discussion that more americans are having around drones. and certainly you've seen some agreement on both sides of the aisle of there needs to be more transparency from this white house about the drone program. you had robert gibbs come out and say that when he first took the reins as press secretary, he wasn't allowed to acknowledge this thing even existed. you had rand paul there, 13 hours, drawing attention to this by using absurd sort of examples, jane fonda, in a cafe being struck down by hellfire missiles.
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but i think he did his cause some good around drones, but also, looks like he's going to run for president in 2016, he's at the forefront, i think, of a real movement of tea party folks and people who were concerned about government overreach. >> well, we'll see if that comes to pass for 2016. but before that, perry, look at all the republicans who weren't behind the filibuster, notably john mccain. he took the senate floor to publicly chastise rand paul for this. how is this playing out within the party as a whole? >> we're seeing this big divide among republicans. you remember back in the bush era only six republicans in the house actually voted against the iraq war. i think if you had a similar kind of war now, there's a bigger wing of the republican party that is very antiwar, more libertarian, more isolationist, but john mccain and lindsey graham are on the other side. they want to intervene more abroad and what we're seeing here is this was like the biggest example yet of the big divide and the party between the rand paul part and the john
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mccain lindsey graham faction. you're going to see more of that happen as you move toward 2016. >> look at your latest perry on politics, the title of your article, why obama's new charm offensive could work. thursday lunch, tell me do you think this is going to work? >> this could work. and here's why. on the budget deficit, there's a group of republicans, bob corker of tennessee, lindsey graham of south carolina who want to reap some big bipartisan reduction deal that has tax increases and also spending cuts in it. and the president is trying to engage that group. try to work around. he knows mitchell mcconnell probably doesn't want to help him because of the primary. but the goal of the president is to work with republicans, about 12 republicans. if they can get something drawn together, they can reach a deal, he's hoping house republicans will allow it to come to the floor and be voted on. i think that could be a good, smart strategy. the president has tried a lot. he's watched super bowl with the
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republicans, had them over to his house, watched movies with them, played basketball with them. and none of that has worked on a lot of issues. i'm not sure -- >> i love the way you say he's had them over to his house, it's the white house. that struck me as, yeah, okay. anyway, thank you guys. >> thank you. >> good to see you. now to number five on our first five web stories, the biebs versus the paparazzi. >> what did you say? what did you say? [ bleep ]. >> use your [ bleep ] -- >> that's justin bieber cursing and launching at the paparazzi in london. bieber performed his final show in london friday night, he plays in portugal next week. do we have a mower? no. a trimmer? no. we got nothing. we just got our first house, we're on a budget. we're not ready for spring. well let's get you ready. very nice. you see these various colors.
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with everyone. starting in april, the tsa will allow passengers to carry with them onboard items like pocket knives which have been banned since 9/11. the tsa says its decision will allow workers to focus on more serious weapons. but this is stirring anger among 9/11 victims families, also flight attendants. and joining me now is vita shook, vita, welcome. and i almost feel silly asking you why you are opposed to this. but go ahead and explain what the problem is. >> well, the problem is introducing weapons onboard. so knives have been prohibited onboard commercial aircraft for over a decade. and a reintroduction doesn't make any sense. >> former tsa chief kip holly agrees with this saying it should go a step further to allow battle axes, machetes onboard. both of which are obviously banned. so how do you respond to his
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argument that searching for these smaller items, if you will, that's a waste of time in essence distracting them from finding bigger weapons that could bring down an airliner. >> well, that kind of hyperbole, those kind of statements that you should be able to bring a machete, that's flat out crazy. what this is about is an aircraft tens of thousands of feet up in the air in a very confined space with no way to get out and someone could use a knife as a potentially lethal weapon and we don't want to have those onboard. so what kip holly would have been suggesting is that the aircraft flight deck door has been fortified since 9/11 and that is working very well and we totally support that and are thankful for that. and that makes sure that the aircraft can't be used as a weapon of mass destruction. such as what occurred on september 11th, unfortunately. however, what about everyone else in the cabin? and we've all heard stories of passengers that, you know, might
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have had too much to drink or something like that and if floi flight attendants are trained to deescalate any potential harmful situation, you introduce a blade into that equation and it could rapidly escalate and become a grave and dire situation quickly. >> yeah, it absolutely could. it's hard to actually compare to these days versus prior to 9/11 because airline travel has gotten more difficult in so many ways. you have more people on planes that are packed. people's tempers, they don't have as much generosity there dealing with the issues. so do you know, though, prior to 9/11 how often something like this was used against flight attendants? >> well, first of all, this isn't just about flight attendants, this is about flight attendants being in charge in the cabin and working to protect every single passenger onboard. so i don't have data on incidents that happened before 9/11. but i do know of certain incidents.
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but i myself am a flight attendant for alaska airlines. in 2000, there was a very serious incident where a passenger wielded a 2 1/2 inch blade and attempted to penetrate the cockpit. he used that weapon against a flight attendant and passengers to attempt to breach the cockpit. >> i'm curious, if you heard any backlash on this from passengers? i mean, i for one wouldn't say i want to have knives onboard. >> no, we've actually received overwhelmingly positive support from the passengers. they are in agreement with us by and large that reintroducing knives onboard makes no sense. >> all right. veda shook, thank you so much for speaking with us. good luck with everything. >> thank you, and you can go to noknivesonboard and join us -- >> sign the petition. i think there's about 15,000 signatures so far. thank you. >> thank you. in today's number one, seeing red, white and blue, but first, weight watching, a survey finds colorado is the skinniest
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state in america. only about 19% of folks in colorado are obese. massachusetts and montana are a little heavier where about 22% of the population is obese. the fattest states, west virginia, mississippi, and arkansas. now to the most american company in the u.s., ford. that is the shot of new poll that's a matter of perception. general motors is second most american followed by mcdonald's, coca-cola and walmart. i'm sure you're going to be hearing about this soon, facebook is approaching 1 billion members, check the latest count indicates that social network now has nearly 964 million members, the u.s. is the leader of the facebook pack with 163 million members, brazil coming in second with more than 66 million, india's third with over 61 million. and those are your number ones here on "weekends with alex witt." ar. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." protests breaking out in egypt, soccer fans furious with a riot last year. 70 people were killed in the violence. the court confirmed the death sentences of 21 people for their role in the riot. the court also acquitted seven police officers who were on trial. venezuela has a new leader. on friday, acting president nicholas maduro was sworn in hours after giving the eulogy. and sunset watchers get an extra treat in the sky this weekend, a comet is passing by earth. the comet should be visible to the naked eye about an hour after sunset. nasa promises this one will definitely miss us. in vatican city, just three days until a group of 115 cardinals start voting on a new pope. today workers installed a chimney stack on the roof of the sistine chapel. all part of the tradition of picking a new pope.
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good evening your time. what are these cardinals doing before they get together starting tuesday? >> reporter: good evening, alex. well, the cardinals, of course, they have a day off on sunday. some of them we've been told by the vatican press office that they will hold masses in their churches. well, they are given -- they are assigned a church here in rome when they are ordained. as cardinals, but we know not everybody's doing so. for instance, cardinal dolan of new york is not taking a day off. we do not know. but certainly preparations are underway here for the start of the conclave. you saw the chimney being raised this morning. here at nbc news, we had a good look from this live position and we're all excited about it. of course, that's a historic moment. at the same time, we were given
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some timings for the beginning of the conclave on tuesday. nothing new there. because this is a process that has been going on for hundreds of years and the only way to find out who is the pope is through black or white smoke. and let me remind you, black is for nope, white is for pope. >> i love the way you say that. thank you very much. and we do know it took as long as five days a couple of times. but thank you, claudio. if it were up to congress to decide on a new pope, it would take a lot longer than five days. it appears our leaders might have made bipartisan headway this week with president obama sitting down to dinner with top republican senators and then having lunch the next day at the white house with paul ryan. joining me now for today's strategy talk is former republican congressman tom davis and democratic strategist emily tisch-susman. let's talk about the pipe dream. is it one to hope that these meals are the beginning of a beautiful friendship? >> well, i think you have to keep your expectations
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realistic. but i think they take the edge off a little bit. instead of the 24/7 campaign, it's good to just sit down informally establish that personal relationship. what we've got to remember are the divisions in the country are deep and within the parties are very, very deep. but at least this can get people sitting down and acting like adults and trying to address the problem. it's an important first step, but i wouldn't hold your breath. but do you think it's at all overblown this criticism of president obama not being out there, you know, glad handing with the other side. not every president has been adept at doing that. >> everyone has their own -- they all have their own styles. you have to be who you are. but i think this president's probably been less in terms of outreach than some of his predecessors. you think the pro on this was lyndon johnson. very tough legislation through. that's kind of the model of how to get this through. but everybody has their own rhythm. >> other than just rhythm, emily, do you think this
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president is reaching out to republicans now? he realized public sentiment was turning against him after the sequester mess. >> he did -- i agree with congressman davis that the president has a different style. you know, if we look at his approach this entire time, he likes to hear all of the opinions around the table and comes forward with a proposal and seems like that has not really clicked with a lot of the republicans, you know, some in leadership and in the caucus overall. i think it's not a bad idea to try a new approach. always a good idea to come to the table, create something of a social relationship if you possibly can. then we can start to focus on our similarities before going into where the differences are. >> but notice, emily, that he went and met with members of the opposite party, not leadership. do you think that's his best attempt at success to get conversation and bipartisan support? >> well, i think he met with extremely important people. thought leaders within the republican party. john mccain, who was there at the dinner, is the ranking member on the armed services
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committee, holds a lot of sway within the party and i think paul ryan is important because his budget is coming out in the next week. it's important to make sure he does have these sorts of relationships. >> okay. the approval ratings for republicans were really low even before the sequester. so at some point, do they have to relent to some degree on tax increases? >> well, i don't know they rep lent on tax increases. i don't think that's the reason for the poor branding of the party. the party branding continues to be bad, particularly with some ethnic groups and some of the electoral coalitions, but i don't think it's because they've relented or won't relent on taxes. i think it's by and large a winning issue. look, revenues may have to be addressed downstream, but they're not going to be addressed. i think the president has to understand, they're not going to be addressed as part of this sequester. those cuts are already in the bank in the minds of most republicans. and if they were to go home and undo that with revenue increases, i think their own party would throw them out of office. the president's got to
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understand the constituencies on the other side and how it operates. >> well, i guess, to that degree, are the democrats and president in danger of becoming absolutists. >> certainly, you know, i think this all stems from the problem that we set up in 2010 with the state legislature elections. because those 2010 legislatures were the ones that districted. and when we have the extreme gerrymandering of districts that we do have right now, whenever you're going back into your district and thinking about what's going to keep you reelected, you know, overall we hear the american people saying that we want compromise and coming together, but then if you go district by district, if the concern is just a challenge from the far right or the far left, it's concerning. there's no real incentive to come back towards the middle. >> what about the other big story this week, congressman? senator rand paul's filibuster over drones created a rift within your party.
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old guard and newer guard. do you think this could become a problem for the party? >> we're a very diverse party. what's left of us right now. we're the minority party. i think looking for some identity. but i think this was a big win for rand paul. you know, he stood up to the establishments and got concessions from the administration. he got what he wanted. got a lot of publicity on this. and he picked an issue, i think, that has support in both parties. so i think this was a big win for rand paul. >> that sets him up for 2016? >> well, it's a good first step. you have -- this is a very basic issue to a lot of americans. should the government just be able to come in and kill you without a warrant? and he picked the right issue. this has a great cross appeal. >> any concern, emily, that the white house should be nervous about this? because look at rand paul, he certainly upped the focus on the drone policy. >> i think rand paul. i think he made a splash, he made his point. let's not forget that he is not the champion of civil rights.
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he does not believe the civil rights act is constitutional. he is not the champion here. but i do think it's interesting politically is that if you think of politics, you know, as a full circle, full spectrum, he did go all the way to the right with support from senator ted cruise, mike lee, but then he also got a statement of support from code pink, which is about as far left as you can get. i believe their own statement was they thought the day hell froze over they'd be complimenting rand paul. >> well, interesting there, thank you so much. >> thank you. the jury grills jodi arias, the questions they want answered in the murder trial making national headlines. financial ob military families face, we understand. our financial advice is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. life brings obstacles. usaa brings retirement advice.
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surrounding the killing. this week, the judge asked arias questions submitted by the jury including one about lies arias has admitted to telling. >> after all the lies you have told, why should we believe you now? >> lying isn't typically something i just do. i'm not going to say i've never told a lie in my life before this incident, but the lies that i've told in this case are -- can be tied directly back to either protecting travis' reputation or my involvement in his death. >> the jodi arias trial resumes wednesday. in today's office politics, noted author and journalist carl bernstein. i asked carl about watergate and when he was most frightened during that investigation and he shares a colorful but threatening anecdote straight from the mouth of john mitchell. carl also wrote a book on pope john paul ii, his holiness, so
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this conversation begins with talking about the reservation of pope benedict. >> i think his papacy has been a disaster. for the church, for the vatican, for catholics. and it was bound to be a disaster in the single great act of his papacy is his resignation and i think it goes to that which is best about his character, his recognition that he couldn't do the job, that whatever his infirmity that keeps him from physically doing the job, it might be a blessing in disguise in that the resignation has shaken up the church and focused attention on it and the future and the future in a way that it ought to be clear one hopes to the cardinals that the next papacy has got to represent great change if this institution is to be the great institution that it's capable of.
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other interesting thing to me is that we forget that we know about the terrible excesses as a result of reporting. this is one of the great reporting jobs in the history of journalism done by the boston globe that uncovered this systematic abuse and horrible problem in the priesthood that is not just american, you can't tar all priests, that would be a terrible, terrible thing. but it is an institutional river that has got to be cleaned up. and "the boston globe" and its reporters recognized and uncovered what was in that river. >> you may have heard about this other great journalistic enterprise by the "washington post" by a couple of guys named bernstein and woodward. >> that's very flattering.
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>> it lifted you to national prominence. how do you view that time now for you personally and for the country? >> couple things. it's a long time ago. and personally, it's enabled me -- it's part of who i am and i've had a great life and great opportunities. and it's been fun among other things. remember, reporters love a good story. don't think all the time woodward and i were sitting there saying, oh, the awe of this is too much for us to bear. we also -- some of the time we're having a good time doing it. at the same time, you know, there was awesome responsibility attached to it. >> yeah. >> and we try to handle that the best we could. were we fearful? we were fearful we would make a mistake, that's what scared the hell out of us. >> there are those that intimated you guys had targets on your back. >> we knew that one or two of
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the watergate burglars, particularly gordon liddy, howard hunt were capable of insane, violent acts. at the same time, i don't think we were in real physical danger. and particularly, common sense would tell you that once it got in the paper what we were reporting if somebody came after us, it would probably be counterproductive. that doesn't mean, look, there came a point where john mitchell, former attorney general of the united states, richard nixon's former law partner, campaign manager. when we revealed that he had controlled the secret fund that paid for the bugging at watergate and other activities, illegal activities undertaken by the nixon white house against the political opposition, i called him john mitchell and his
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response was katie graham is going to get her caught in a big fat ringer if you print that. and if you print that, we're going to do a little story on you boys too. that to me was the most chilling, threatening, fearful moment of the whole enterprise. it came about 10, 12 weeks after the break-in, early on i called ben bradley the editor of "the post," told him what mr. mitchell had said to me. he said did you take good notes? i said, yeah, i got the notes. he said, well, run the whole thing, and that was the response. the next morning katherine graham came over to my desk and said, carl, do you have any more messages for me? >> good story, right? tomorrow at this time carl's going to tell me about the nixon legacy and why he did a 180 on president gerald ford. it will shock you the price of a rhino horn. why a former navy s.e.a.l. and
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a team of u.s. special forces operatives were employed to africa for a critical mission, not to track down terrorists but rather to protect the endangered rhinos. part of the new animal planet series that premiered this week. >> it's really incredible to see these rhinos in the wild. and it's a bit unnerving to see how close we're able to get to them. >> i can't understand how anybody would kill these animals. >> no. look at the size of that moon. >> the team is ready at this point, poachers moon is up. we're ready to get some. now you see what you've been called to do, what you've been called to protect. >> joining me now are two of the stars of the show, retired navy
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s.e.a.l. rob roy and oz.. and with a welcome to the both of you. how passionate are you guys about this? you're going out to save rhinos. you've been out in the field and see what the situation is like there. oz, tell me how this has inspired you to keep on doing what you're doing. >> hi, thank you for having us. i got to tell you, this cause has really become more personal to me than i ever expected. when we got to africa, we kind of knew what we were getting into, but the reality hit us very, very quickly when we saw our first dead animals and we realized how devastating everything is. so it's become a real deep part of what i really want to accomplish. it's become a personal cause for me. >> you know, rob, it was asked, actually around the newsroom if a rhinoceros' horn is removed, which i know it goes on the black market for $360,000 which is an outrageous sum of money, but can they survive? or does that automatically mean death? >> well, it all depends, if you
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shoot the animal to take the horn, of course, they'll die. when you look at the cause and effect of what happens to the animal itself, then you then change the behavior of the animal and never be wild again. and the other thing is the size of the horn determines the value of what you'll get out of it. it could be more than $360,000. once you cut it, it's basically like gold, twice the amount of gold. it goes by grams. what we're fighting for is natural habitat for the animals and these animals roam freely and fight the way they fight and breed the way they breed, you can't cut them off like they're farm animals because they're not. >> so oz, yo uh use your training how? you guys are hard core. both of you trained. how do you use this to go after poachers? >> really no different than any other terrorist organization or criminal we've hunted in the past. we get a foothold in another country and try to establish intelligence and gather information that directs us to the source of the crimes and with they're going to happen, when they're going to happen.
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the team is so well trained that we don't need to coordinate our efforts, we can operate independently. that's why you've got four guys in the country in the size of switzerland if not bigger operating against an unknown enemy and we're being successful. >> well, thank goodness you are, rob, there was a thing that got me the most, seeing this poor baby rhino crying next to its dead mother, but in the show you get emotional too. what is it about the animals that is tugging at your heart strings so much? >> well, it's -- what we've all done, sign up in the military, we p want to serve. and we feel that's part of what we've been called to do, we've been called to serve. and seeing that a defenseless animal is being attacked or killed, it's like one of your kids. i've never been a conservationist, but you can't turn away from something like that. you can't turn away. it's like the humane society or anything else out there, you can't turn away when something defenseless is being attacked. we have all signed on to serve
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and given ourselves to people or animals for this planet. >> hey, oz, what do you hope comes from this? >> well, i think the reality is that four guys is just not going to be able to make this whole tragedy go away. we've opened -- i've opened with a team of facebook, it's animal planet's battleground rhino wars, team page, hoping to spread awareness, expose the truth about what's happening. there is a great misconception about what this horn can do and that's what's driving the demand up, making these animals basically teeter off the verge of extinction. five years is a very, very conservative guess the length of time these animals have left on this planet. we need to spread the word, share and talk and facebook and whatever we need to do to get everyone to recognize this crime is happening. >> i'm glad you both appeared here to help do that. >> it's the new animal planet series, thank you so much. best of luck out there and keep up the good work.
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the top of the hour, take a look at plum island, live pictures, plum island, massachusetts, after friday's storm left a path of destruction. we have seen some houses literally toppled over on their side, and they are surely gone. so we'll keep an eye on things and the weather. good day, all of you, welcome to "weekends with alex witt," let's get to what's happening right now out there. we have some developing news to share from south africa. a statement on the country's presidential website says 94-year-old nelson mandela is said to be undergoing routine tests. it adds, there's no reason for alarm and that doctors are treating him for a pre-existing
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condition. of course, mr. mandela was discharged from a hospital back in december after being treated for a persistent lung infection and a procedure to remove gallstones. chuck hagel is on his way back from his first trip in his new position, but not before meeting with a group of soldiers. these are members of the 101st airborne division earlier this morning. let's go to mike taibbi. let's hear about these soldiers and the mood. what it was like, this was a surprise, wasn't it? >> hi, alex, how are you? well, the secretary got a firsthand look at the way things are in afghanistan right now. it was another violent day. two suicide attacks, one of them in the eastern city that was aimed at the patrol that killed civilians, eight of them children in the first of the attacks. in that instance, a suicide bomber rode in on a bicycle, but only got close enough to the heavily fortified -- to impact
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more civilians. nine dead here, as well, and 14 injured. the taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was aimed as a message at secretary hagel who at that time was in the middle of a briefing a couple of miles where the explosion took place. the explosion did not interrupt that briefing nor did it interrupt the secretary's itinerary. went up to bagram air base and consult with commanders there, coalition commanders. and then as you said, we had spent time listening to troops from the 101st airborne. it was the first time we've had a chance to do that in a long time. tomorrow's going to be a busy day, more briefings about the training for the afghan national army, which is important with the afghans now patrolling 90% of the security in this country as the drawdown continues. and then meetings tomorrow afternoon with economic and military leaders and finally a sit-down with afghan president hamid karzai after which he'll have a joint press conference. unresolved in this country.
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the continuing security problem, we talked about that before, and the question of the prospects for peace talks with the taliban right now those prospects are nowhere in sight. alex? >> okay. mike taibbi in kabul, thank you for the live report. north korea's vow to attack the u.s. just an idle threat or wins of war? i'll talk about that later. to the weather now, in massachusetts, about a dozen homes have been damaged, some left precariously hanging right over the ocean there after a powerful storm. the storm knocked at least one house entirely off its foundation. then in denver, what could be a last blast of winter, the mile-high city getting slammed with blizzard conditions over the weekend, they could get hit with at least a foot of snow. nbc's mike seidel with the very latest for us. mike, not a pretty picture there at all. >> reporter: yeah, and i want to emphasize that denver can snow even into june.
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they have snowed every month for the year except july. march is the second slowest month, in april, they average about 6 inches. don't discount the fact this may not be the last storm. so far we've had a couple of inches downtown on the college campuses. we can see the skyline right now. it's kind of fuzzy. come up above a mile right now. of i-25, out on i-70, and up into northeast colorado, that's where we have the blizzard warnings up until later on tonight. and we also have blizzard warnings for parts of kansas, nebraska, and wyoming. so parts of four states, that's because out there more wide open space, more of a pressure gradient with the storm as it ramps up. and we are going to have winds gusting over there over 40 miles an hour thus the risk of lower visibilities. i-70 may be shut down at some point later on this evening later on tonight. that would not be out of the question.
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once we get out of the way. below average, but get this, average, 50 on monday, 60 on tuesday, and into the 60s wednesday and thursday. so all this snow will quickly melt. back to you. >> well, that's good. hey, i threw up some pictures, we've got live pictures of plum island, massachusetts, i know you've seen these houses, mike, because of the beach erosion and the storms and the combination of that. they're done for these houses. >> yes, i was there right after the big blizzard back on february 10th and 11th that sunday and monday four weeks ago. and these homes have been built -- most of the damage occurred with the storm back in late december on the 28th, i believe, then we had the blizzard on the ninth, and they lost a lot of beach. just a few years ago, these homes had a big dune in front of them. so three houses they tried to shore them up yesterday. but they're out there now with the demolition crews trying to
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get those houses destroyed so they don't fall and get torn up by the sea. the worst of the high tide has passed. out of the woods on the storm. new insight on the sequester stalemate today and looks like it won't be resolved any time soon. the president sheds light on the recent meetings with republican leaders with the goal of replacing the across the board budget cuts that took effect a week ago. >> in the months ahead, there'll be more contentious debate and honest disagreement between principled people who want what's best for this country. but i still believe that compromise is possible. i still believe we can come together and do big things and i know there are leaders on the other side of the aisle who share that belief.
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>> the president also highlighted the 236,000 jobs added in february. despite the good economic numbers, though, republicans today continue to blast the president over the sequester and getting a budget passed. senator jeff sessions of alabama. >> president obama speaks of his deep concern for struggling americans. growing government, not the economy. he has no effective plan to create better jobs, more hiring, or rising wages. >> and today's the first day the white house will not offer tours to the public saying the sequester is to blame for that. joining me now, political reporter and msnbc contributor and d.c. bureau chief for the new york daily news, welcome to you both. >> hi, alex. rand paul and the filibuster, here's the radio show talking about senator john mccain.
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i don't always get the same in return. >> he's saying that, ana, because john mccain and lindsay graham attacked rand on the floor of the senate. >> it's going to be interesting to see. what you were really seeing was a divide in the gop over foreign policy and defense. you know, people have come to rand paul's aid in terms of rush limbaugh, he criticized senator mccain, newt gingrich coming out there. this is a debate that's going to continue going on for at least a couple of days. >> so, jim, overall, who do you think most republicans are siding with in this gop squabble. >> i suspect rand paul. but, boy, alex the egos and politics of that elite mostly men's club in the u.s. senate,
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it reminds me a little bit of your battleground rhino wars there. and you have the young buck who is then -- is taken to task by the man, the self-style maverick of not long ago john mccain. and mccain playing the party of an aging don quijote. i guess rand paul is only lucky he didn't confront mccain. but i think by and large a plus for rand paul. >> let's take a look at the president's weekly address, talking here about the gop meeting. take a listen. >> earlier this week, for example, i met with some republican senators to see if there were smarter ways to grow our economy and reduce our deficits than the arbitrary cuts and the so-called sequester that recently went into place. we had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence. and other areas where we can work together to move this
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country forward. >> so anna, do you think the president reaching out to the rank and final members, if you will, albeit very powerful ones in the gop. do you think that's going to do a lot to solidify the future of a bipartisan nature as a result of these meetings? >> well, certainly, both sides have come out of it saying very positive things. the republicans that were there welcomed it and he, obviously, in his address kind of signaled these are productive. it is very hard to see as somebody up on capitol hill most days reporting this is actually going to break a stalemate. certainly the big talks with the speaker boehner and, you know, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell hadn't been fruitful on sequester and deficit. but i have a hard time believing this is going to be the thing that moves having dinner together is the thing that's going to move that debate forward. >> jim, give me a sense of what might come of it. this president was criticized for not reaching out to the
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other side and he's done so. might we expect more of this? >> yeah, i think a little bit. there's no doubt the folks in the white house are smart enough to know they didn't handle the sequester particularly well. laying out all the supposedly rather imminent dire consequences that have not played out. i think by and large it's smart to sort of circumvent congress to go over their heads go directly to the american people. but at the same time, you don't want to look like you're being too dogmatic and essentially isolationist. so you make the effort. and i think it's a very sincere effort and see what happens. and if it doesn't work out, you've signaled the public that, hey, at least you tried and then you can bash the republicans. >> anna, you have a pretty interesting article on politico about the future of the republican party. specifically about this group of young republicans who formed a new national movement. what is this all about? >> a group mainly out of new york out of young fiscal conservative republicans, you know, they were trying to create
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a national brand of under 35-year-olds, and their focus is interesting. they were really frustrated. a lot of the people that are founders of this group and frustrated with this continued focus of social issues. so they, you know, they don't care what you believe on those issues, their main issue is, you know, fiscal conservative, strong defense and energy. and they have gotten some really big, you know, kind of names. former presidential candidate john huntsman has gone to some of their events and others. you can see some of the party elders looking at this with some excitement. >> hey, jim, i'm out of time, but real quick, the tweet you sent out about the white house canceling tours, what's the reaction been by the public? >> silly, i think it just accentuates the notion that the place is back in d.c. is dysfunctional and this was a move that looks to be penny wise pound foolish. i don't think people were too impressed by it at all.
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>> okay. good to see you both, thank you. >> thanks. >> in just a moment, another act of defiance from north korea, does the u.s. really have to worry about north korea's threats to attack. william cohen is next. marjorie, i can't stand you. you're too perfect. even the inside of your dishwasher sparkles. okay. so i'm the bad guy for being clean. you said it. ladies, let's not fight dirty. cascade kitchen counselor. see, over time, a competing gel can leave hard-water film on your dishes. new cascade platinum's triple-action formula not only cleans your dishes, it helps keep your dishwasher sparkling. so we're good? don't do that. okay. [ female announcer ] cascade's best is new cascade platinum. has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! ♪
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north korea has announced it will defy the united nations sanctions imposed yesterday and continue to develop a nuclear arsenal. this comes at the end of the week in which kim jong-un ended the 60-year peace deal with south korea and threatened the united states with a preemptive nuclear attack. joining me now is william cohen and, sir, i'm so glad you're here because this is kind of frightening jargon that's coming out of kim jong-un. i mean, is there any way to gauge how serious these threats are? to make sure this isn't all just bluster? >> well, there is a lot of
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bluster, but i think that he would understand that any threat to the united states that he seeks to carry out would be met with a response that certainly would alter the geography in that region of the world. and i think what we have to do, three things, number one, we have to lower the rhetoric, which we have done. we have to increase the training and readiness, which we're also doing of our troops in the region along with the south korean forces. and what we also have to do is intensify the sanctions against the north korean regime, which we're doing. and the final thing is president obama said we will reach out to you with an open hand, but we will not shake a closed fist. that's something that message has to be conveyed very strongly and then finally, china has to exercise more power here in terms of its influence over the north korean leader. they have the ability to provide food, they have been providing food and fuel and assistance to north korea. they have to convey the message that this kind of rhetoric and
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this kind of threat is really adverse to the international interest. those things are being done. >> do you expect china, though, to send a strong message? it is backing the sanctions but really only the major ally certainly in the region. so how strong is china's role here? >> well, the fact that they back these sanctions is a very strong signal. they're very upset with north korea for launching the last missile and also for the underground nuclear tests. this is going to continue to be a destabilizing factor throughout the region. there is always the possibility that someone could miscalculate. what we're dealing with with north korea is a hermetically sealed dictatorship for which people themselves have no idea of the outside world and they engage in cult worship of their dear leader. this is a country with only missiles and nuclear technology, there's nothing else they
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market. and what they engage in is a form of extortion and blackmail. in other words, feed us, fuel us, before we kill again. and what we have to do be very careful how we calibrate our responses, but we have to be prepared to be really ready and always trained to the very highest level to make sure if there is going to be in any kind of action taken by the north that we are prepared to deal with it. i think secretary hagel sent that message very subtly, low key, but the message is we're prepared to deal with anything that the north might try and do. >> and the end of the six-year peace deal between the north and south this week, what is the likelihood the north would actually attack the south? >> well, it's always possible. again, miscalculations, they are likely to engage in another act of provocation. their history is such that every time there's a new president of south korea, they engage in some kind of provocation in order to test the resolve and response of that leader. this is a very difficult situation because they have engaged in two very provocative
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acts, killing innocent south koreans and also sinking a ship several years ago. killing a number of sailors, some 40 sailors, they've already engaged in provocative acts so this new president has very limited ability to absorb any kind of provocation without a response. so it's a dangerous time. hopefully the chinese will convey the message to the leader, the north korean leader to reduce the rhetoric, sit back down and let's see if we can't find a way, a peaceful way forward. it's probably not likely in the immediate future, but it's something that has to be done. >> may i ask you about this joke that went around last week, not really funny but nonetheless a joke about dennis rodman now knowing more about kim jong-un than the cia. how much does our intelligence community really know about what's going on in north korea and this new leader? >> well, dennis rodman was a great basketball player. he's not a skilled diplomat to be sure. and the notion that he can somehow pay a visit to north
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korea and then make an assumption or judgment upon the validity and the eagerness for the north korean leader to pursue a path of peace is pretty pathetic, frankly. but nonetheless, president obama has said we're prepared to reach out to kim jong-un. but we're not going to deal with a closed fist. so china believes we are pursuing the right policy of increasing those sanctions, japan, south korea, all of our allies understand the consequence of what the north koreans are doing. it's very dangerous to the extent that they continue to develop nuclear weapons to the extent they are now reaching agreements and have had agreements with iran. so you have a nexus between iran and north korea developing missile technology and nuclear technology. not a great combination, something we have to watch and it raises the issue even more with greater highlight in terms of what iran is seeking to do. but between iran and north korea, we have two very
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dangerous situations. >> is there one you perceive as the greater threat? >> i think the greater threat right now is north korea because of -- it's a country that is really a rogue country. it has limited access to the outside world. i think that the calculations that they're making are very dangerous at least in the iranians. i think we have a more sophisticated group of people to deal with even though they're pursuing a very dangerous path. i think you have with iran a history and a country with a great history over the years and centuries. and they're pursuing a dangerous path now. but i think at least they're open to persuasion which we're seeking to do. i'm not sure that the north koreans are at this point and that's what makes them more dangerous, in my opinion. >> well, former defense secretary william cohen, thank you, sir. up next, newark mayor cory booker on how the sequester is taking a toll on crime fighting in his city. with new lean cuisine salad additions. the perfect combination of grilled chicken
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt," let's go over to vatican city where 115 cardinals are getting ready to vote on a thu pope. an incredible image for you today as a worker installing a chimney stack on the roof of the sistine chapel. white smoke will rise from that chimney stack once the cardinals choose the new pope. between now and tuesday when the conclave begins, what do the cardinals have in store for them? >> well, alex, tomorrow is really the only day off if you may call it that way for the cardinals. because on monday morning, they will still meet once again and for one last time in the general congregation of cardinals and then, of course, on tuesday morning before the start of the election and the conclave they will hold mass in st. peters
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square. what will they do tomorrow? well, some of them are known to be holding masses in some of the churches here in rome. but many have decided not to do so because they don't have much time really to debate, pray and meditate for the best choice they believe will be the next successor on the throne of st. peter's. and many of these cardinals don't really know each other and they just started meeting up on monday when they were called upon to come to rome after the surprise resignation of pope benedict xvi. they can't really do with any time off to gather their ideas. so they're going to the sistine chapel with a clear mind on who they want to vote. alex? >> i'm sure there'll be a lot of debate inside that chapel about that coming up. thank you very much. and be sure to watch msnbc beginning tuesday for our live coverage for the papal conclave and the election of the next pope. the partnership for a healthier america held the national summit in washington this week. first lady michelle obama
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calling for better marketing of healthy foods. i spoke with the group's vice chair. cory booker about the childhood obesity epidemic. but first, i asked him if president obama's dinner with senate republicans this week was too little too late. >> dinner and breaking bread is always a good thing. but i know very specifically the president has been reaching out from day one. he's had coverage that's been given to meetings he's had with people in the gop getting into real discussions back in the debate. this president's gone a long way. and he's just not going to stop. he's going to continue to find creative ways to reach across the aisle. and i'm happy to see this having some success the mandate given by the american people that really supported the president's vision. it's the spirit of washington they need right now.
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there was a lot of fear drummed up. how do you expect it to affect you? it is affecting us. it may not be dramatic right now. when i talked to the u.s. attorney's office who is one of my partners in fighting crimes and having to deliver furlough notices to employees, that's going to weaken our ability to partnerships that create safety in my community. everybody agreed from the right to the left even independent economists that this is a bad way to go about budget cutting. it is blunt, brutal and blind and not the way you would have done it if people had come together in an intelligent fashion to figure out the best way to reduce government. >> let's talk about this initiative that you're working on for childhood obesity, partnership for a healthier america. just how bad is this problem? >> it's no longer a problem. it's an epidemic. it is eating away at the core of our country and our destiny, our future because it's undermining our kids ' lives in dramatic
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fashion. childhood obesity has increased about threefold since -- in the last 30 years amongst our children stealing their lives away. really, tens of billions of dollars we're spending now on juvenile health care costs that we don't have to spend that we didn't have this problem. more than that, obesity leads to lower performance in school, long-term productivity, and the world on a global knowledge based economy, where how much you earn is based upon how much you learn, this has potential of very damaging things for individual lives and gdp growth in the future. especially right now the economists are saying this is impacting our economy in terms of trillions of dollars. >> we have the new york city mayor michael bloomberg. he's got the large soda ban that goes into effect next week. do you think that's the right tactic to save people from themselves? >> well, look, i am a bloomberg fan. here's a guy that is dealing with gun violence, infrastructure problems, global warming. he is -- when it comes to mayor,
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he is the chief provocateur in this country saying i'm not going to stand idly by and watch the health of my kids deteriorate rapidly. the question is what are we going to do? i'm not taking on the same tactics he's taking, but i see the same urgency. let's stop criticizing people for stepping out. we may disagree with his tactics, but the first question we should ask ourselves is, hey, he's trying to solve a problem. what is my alternative? it's not enough to say, hey, we should just have our parents make better choices. well, when a parent lives in a food desert and doesn't have access to healthy options and only has bodegas with sugary foods and sugar water, we have the responsibility to end these food deserts. well, if they don't have safe playgrounds and recreational spaces, we as a community have to do something. so god bless mayor bloomberg. not what i would do, but at least he's forcing the issue and
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the question and more of us are talking about it because as i see it, what do we need to be drinking these gallon drums of sugary drinks? these are the habits we've gotten into that our grandparents, they didn't do these kind of things. we've lost our food culture in this country and it's time for somebody to declare a food fight and say, hey, we're going to fight for more healthy access to foods, fight for more urban gardens, to empower parents to make good decisions. >> well, if that interview's any indication, appears childhood obesity could be a big platform for mayor booker's likely senate run in 2014. he says he won't announce his campaign, though, until after the upcoming new jersey governor's election. sequestration completing its first week in the impact is already being felt in the military and at the white house. joining me a republican congressman from indiana. glad you're here. >> hey, alex. >> let's talk about what
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lawmakers on both sides are doing, which is criticizing the sequestration as an irresponsible way of cutting spending. you have approved the across the board cuts here. why? >> yeah, that's right because it's a lot better than not doing anything. we are the first generation in american history that by any objective measure is going to leave the next one a lot worse off. that's never happened before. and i'm trying everything i can do to not let it happen on my watch. are there better ways to cut government? absolutely. but when you have a senate that hasn't proposed a budget in four years, it's hard to do the more laser like cuts. so, look, i used to run five agencies in the state of indiana when i was indiana secretary of state. we ran those agencies adjusted for inflation. you can find 2% to 3% in any government agency, military or not, and, you know, that's why i support it and will continue to. it's the least we can do, it's
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the first step of many, alex. >> all right. well, let's look, though, in your own backyard. as you know, the white house is projecting mandatory spending cuts for your state of indiana. more than $25 million in education funding, more than $70 million trimmed from the military, about 11,000 civilian and dod employees being furlo h furloughed. with this in mind, you voted in favor of keeping these cuts locked in when the house passed its version. >> yes, absolutely, alex. 11,000 over 800,000 civilian employees in the military alone. we need to start prioritizing. there is waste, fraud and abuse in the military, outside the military. again, we're talking about 2% to 3%. any negative impacts cutting 2% to 3%. that means 98%'s left. it's amazing to listen to this president, listen to mr. booker and others around this country indicate what can happen with 2%
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of government. can you imagine what the other 98% does? the fact of the matter is, it's ridiculous, you can find 2% 3% easily. and the only reason that meat might not get expected, that air traffic controllers might leave tower cabs, that fires might not get fought or whatever else the excuse is this president wants it to happen. i believe he has the flexibility to make the cuts he needs right now. and by the way, the house gave him more flexibility last week if the senate will pass that bill, alex, so no one left to blame here. and i think that's why he's coming to see us next week. >> can i ask you quick about the white house tours being cut. >> sure. >> it's a couple million dollars they're going to save in the budget, but you're skeptical. >> couple million dollars over hundreds of millions of dollars in budget authority just for that white house alone. look, you know, the president spent more than that when he went down to play golf with tiger woods the other day for crying out loud. and now he's going to cut out
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white house tours. we don't buy it and i don't think the american people at the end of the day are buying it. >> all right. well, todd rokita, thanks for your time. >> thanks, alex. now to the economy and pieces of good news. first, the economy created more than 230,000 jobs in february and unemployment fell to 7.7% and the fed says u.s. household wealth is almost back to what it was before the recession hit nearly six years ago. joining me now economy retail analyst, and with a hello to you heatha, let's talk about the jobs report, the economy finally turning around, do you think? >> that's what everyone is saying. the unemployment rate has come down to 7.7%, that's the lowest it's been since 2008. and there are three sectors that have really added those jobs. one of them is construction, the other one is retail. and the other one a little bit of a surprise, the film and recording industry, they added about 22,000 jobs for ithe mont of february. >> that's nearly matching pre-recession highs.
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>> right, going up to $66 trillion, trillion with a "t," came at the end of 2012. and one of the main reasons why because of the surging stock prices and also housing prices. the dow hit its record high at about 14,400 on friday and analysts as well as wall street expect that to go around 1,500 in the near future. >> people would be shocked to see 15,000. >> yeah. >> we knew what you meant. thank you so much. >> thanks. next, it's a big three fighting within the gop and the president's wining and dining. will it make a difference? ♪
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contributor susan del purso. senator rand paul criticized the white house over the policies, but then later senator mccain blasted paul on the senate floor. let's listen to this. >> if mr. paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. he needs to know what he's talking about. >> ouch. ouch. >> the gop, you think it could do a better job of having a more cohesive tone? because it doesn't seem to be feeling together any kind of love on any level lately. >> when it comes to that specifically, obviously you have a very conservative senator. but rand is very close to the very left of the democratic
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party. you could argue the libertarian side of both parties getting along and really the establishment on both sides of the aisle kind of holding firm on their positions and agreeing with the president. >> can i ask you though, susan, why take that public? why not take him aside and have john mccain, you know, give him a private scolding, if you will? >> well, i think that's why so many people were kind of surprised by, especially john mccain, the maverick doing this. he's the one that used to fire up kids in college rooms. so it is a little surprising he of all people to do that. >> all right. a couple of key moments in this nearly 13-hour filibuster. i'll get with you on this, patricia, let's listen to one of them. >> i'm not asking any questions about the president's motives. isn't so much about him, it isn't so much about john brennan, it's about having rules so that some day if we do have the misfortune of electing someone you do not trust, electing someone who might kill innocent people, for whom might
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kill people they disagree with politically or they might kill people they disagree with religiously or might kill people of another ethnic group. >> a lot of mights there. what did this filibuster accomplish? >> well, first of all, it did exactly what he wanted it to do, which is to bring attention to this issue. his position on drone policy as susan said is relatively well known. but it's been rattling around the senate for some time. and he's obviously had to compete with a lot of much bigger issues like the sequester and like budget showdowns and people shutting down the government. there's a lot going on in washington. he really broke through all of that noise by saving a filibuster. and he did it in a way that was not personal, it was not vitriolic, he did not read the phone book. he laid out his position, and i have to say, the republican establishment wasn't really so against him by the end of the night. mitch mcconnell was down
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congratulating him. even harry reid. i think he did exactly what the senate is built to do and that's what the rules are for, to stop people's progress for a moment and bring attention to an issue that you think is critically important. and i think he really did himself a lot of favors and anybody really from code pink all the way over to the tea party express were all congratulating him. i think it was a great moment for him and anybody that cares about that issue. >> but here's the big thing. morris reid, are you going to add your congratulations? that could be painful. what do you think? >> well, we could've used him during this whole weapons of mass destructions, you know, kerfuffle we were involved in years ago. it's hard for me to really have an opinion on this. i'm one of these guys you don't want to kick your enemy when he's down. there's lots of confusion within the republican party right now. rand paul is a guy who has strong beliefs. i applaud him for standing up for what he believes. this john mccain scenario is just, again, it goes to the confusion of what is going on
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there. so i really don't have an opinion. the only thing i would say is i wish we would've had a senator on any side of the aisle who would've done this when we had the situation of weapons of mass destruction from years ago, maybe wouldn't have had a situation where we destroyed the country and all the money blown on iraq and other places around the world. >> okay. i'm going to move on to the next topic with you, morris. the president's on a charm offensive meeting with republicans for dinner and lunch the next day. what do you think prompted him to reach out to the gop this way? got any insight on this as a democrat? >> when you recall, when he was first elected years ago, he reached out to these guys and the situation around the health care, he has reached out to these guys in the past. they're making all this big deal as if this is something new. this is something that he has consistently done. he got fed up because it had no impact in the past. so he is now --
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>> the word consistently done. i don't disagree he did it at the that maybe he thought it was a waste of his time and he wasn't reaching out all that much. >> i think that you're right. he did get to a point where he felt that his reaching out was not having any effect so he decided to move on, but he has done this. this is not something new. he tried this at the beginning of his administration. i'm hopeful that it will have some impact this time and frankly, i don't think it will, and i think we'll be back in the same situation we've been in the last few months. >> our republican friend susan, will this work this charm offensive? >> just to go back, it's interesting because you brought up a great point, alex, as far as consistently. he didn't meet with people from his own party either and there was a lot of complaints in his first term and we'll see if that starts to bubble up again. him reaching out now to the republicans is a great move. he started off having a horrible week this week with the results of the sequestration and everyone saying the
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administration took it too far. he pivoted and made a great move taking them out to dinner. i think this could lead to a potential grabbed bargain down the road. >> you have to give him credit now for this, right? >> oh, absolutely. >> think you absolutely give him credit. i do want to take issue with what morris said. this president did not reach out. he did have a super bowl party his first month in office, but when i cover the hill i hear from senators and house members on the left and the right, republican and democrat and they say we don't know this president. we never hear from him. he never calls and that is what i think is the biggest failure of his first term, and i think since the sequestration, he's seen his poll numbers fall off. he's heard from a number of democrats and republicans. you have to build relationships and i think he's doing that now. i give him a lot of credit. it certainly can't hurt and it's much harder to vilify somebody and to demonize them as
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republicans have been doing with the president once you know them better and once you know the motivation. i give them a lot of credit. >> again, i disagree because he did reach out in his first term. it didn't work so he decided to move on. i'm applauding him -- i'm applauding him that he's reaching out to them again, but you guys know he invited these people over. >> as the vice president to do the outreach because he had no relationships and that's where most of the outreach was being done in his first term. >> i disagree. they were invited to the white house. there were a number of occasions that he invited people to the white house. >> if he was reaching out members of congress didn't think so. he had 535 people on the hill and now he's making a lot of progress changing it. >> let's see what happens this time around and just because he's reaching out doesn't mean they'll extend an olive branch to him. we'll see. we have best week, worst week. it's a bad day for me. we'll be right back. bacteria ca.
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we are back with the big three for their best and worst of the week. so, morris, you withstood the withering, blistering criticism and i'll let you go first. >> i'm going to filibuster if i go first. it's over. >> let's go, make it quick. >> my loser of the week is the vatican. they're having challenges and it will be interesting to see how they come out of this whole situation around the new pope and they're having real issues. my winner is the economy. my friend susan, the economy, it's working. there's jobs. this is a great economy. it worked for republicans and democrats. that's my winner of the week. >> okay, patricia, how about you. >> yes, my winner, rand paul. i was telling my husband if there is a move berand paul it will start with the scene on the senate floor the other night. just a great moment for him. my loser is tsa for lifting the ban on the pocketknives. >> i completely agree with that one. >> i agree with patricia on both
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cases. rand paul had the best week and newark airport had the best week for letting them sneak a fake bomb on to the airport. >> the 200,000 jobs were created this week. the economy won the week. give the president some credit. >> someone cut his mic. thank you. they're going to cut my mic now because that's a wrap of "weekends with alex witt." up next, craig melvin in studio. why turbo? trust us. it's just better to be in front. the sonata turbo. from hyundai. will restore even skin tone?


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